Esoteric Recordings announce a new release on their recently launched Cocteau Discs imprint, a limited edition reissue of BILL NELSON’s classic 4 disc ambient boxed set "TRIAL BY INTIMACY (The Book of Splendours)”. The set was originally released on Bill’s Cocteau Records label in October 1984 and comprised recordings made by Bill at his Echo Observatory home studio. Comprising some eighty pieces of music, the set was a fine example of Bill Nelson’s grasp of Ambient music and has subsequently been hailed as a ground-breaking work. Long deleted, the set is made available once more with this newly re-mastered Cocteau Discs edition. The new release fully restores the original elements of the "TRIAL BY INTIMACY” box and is an exact facsimile, reproducing a 32 page book and eight art postcards that featured in the original set.
Tucson's musical savant Howe Gelb has released an album of mostly instrumental keyboard music, Ogle Some Piano. It's a curious disc, even by Gelb's eccentric standards – nineteen tracks of piano meanderings in a variety of styles: jazz, rock, pop, tin pan alley and experimental avant-garde weirdness. And the titles seem a parody of art-rock pretentiousness: "Spangle Bib of Radiant Value," "Hammered and Hampered, We Then Took the Deeds Down by the Dozen," and "Someday They Will Have a Name for What Ails You as Opposed to Being Saddled with Speck Elation" are representative. The best tracks include Joey Burns on double bass and John Convertino on drums, making these tracks more or less Giant Sand pieces. There are also contributions from the usual suspects, including Nick Luca and Craig Schumacher of Wave Lab studios in Tucson, and the late great Rainer Ptacek as well.
For a brief time, tenor saxophonist Bill Holman and drummer Mel Lewis led a hard-swinging quintet based in Los Angeles. Trumpeter Lee Katzman, pianist Jimmy Rowles and bassist Wilford Middlebrook complete the group, a band that benefits greatly from the arrangements of Holman. Rowles contributed "502 Blues Theme," Holman brought in two songs, and the unit also performs the obscure "Mah Lindy Lou" and two originals. This album (originally on the Andex label) serves as proof that not all jazz recordings from Los Angeles in the 1950s are quiet and cool.
One of the first things that strikes you about Howe Gelb and 'Sno Angel's Like You or Howe Gelb's 'Sno Angel Like You, depending on how you wish to see the project , is that Gelb recorded this set with a gospel choir from Canada called Voices of Praise and he called the project "Sno Angel" and they made this record called "Like You." Anyway, you get the idea; it's one of the Arizona desert dweller's typically arcane musings. Gelb recorded this baby in Ottawa with drummer Jeremy Gara who now skins with Arcade Fire. There are a few other musicians hanging out and playing here as well; most notably Dave Draves on B-3 (Gelb plays one too), and Fred Guignon, who plays a mean slide guitar on six tracks. There are no gospel tunes here in the proper sense. This is a Howe Gelb record. You know – slippery, loose, mistakes left in, hummable – it's less quirky because the new tunes were written with the choir in mind.
As son of Yes guitarist Steve, Virgil Howe was born into a house full of music, tinkering on his dad’s synth at four, learning multiple instruments as he grew up and destined to follow in his father’s footsteps…
Live & Unreleased, 1967 is basically a re-release of 1998's 50 Minute Technicolour Dream, only with four fewer tracks. The radio sessions have the expected sound for the era and offer an alternative to the common versions found on Tomorrow…
The Coincidentalist is Howe Gelb's first solo album since 2011's Alegrias, and his debut for New West Records. In 2012, his ever-evolving Giant Sand issued the sprawling "country rock opera" Tucson, which marked his return to the desert after spending most of the previous decade in Denmark. Self-produced, The Coincidentalist is a mostly low-key affair with a stellar mix by John Parish. As has been his M.O. for most of the last three decades, Gelb enlists a fine cast of co-conspirators: longtime bassist Thoger Tetens Lund, former Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley, M. Ward on lead guitar, and the Silver Thread Trio (Gabrielle Pietrangelo, Laura Kepner-Adney, and Caroline Isaacs) on chorus vocals.